VISALIA, CA - Grant Heyman struck out five times in Saturday night's extra-inning loss against Lake Elsinore before flipping a bloop single into center to score a run in the 12th. Tonight he had one of the best nights of his professional career: collecting five hits in five at bats, finishing only a home run shy of the cycle, scoring a career-best five runs, and driving in three as Visalia (42-46/6-12) ended their four-game skid by pummeling Lake Elsinore (43-45/8-10) 12-2.
Heyman smashed singles in the second and third innings off of Jake Esch (L, 1-1) to start a three-run rally and drive in a run respectively. He came up against Esch in the fifth inning and, on the first pitch of the inning, laced a line drive into the gap in right-center for a leadoff double, only to be scored by a Henry Castillo sac-fly later in the inning. With a two-out rally in the third, Heyman blasted a ball to deep right-center that crashed into the wall and careened back into shallow center field, scoring two and putting Heyman at third with a triple. Heyman, the club's home run leader, was just a homer shy of the cycle.
Heyman was due up fourth in the bottom of the eighth with the Rawhide already leading 9-2. With two outs, Jason Morozowski fell behind with two strikes before fouling a pair of pitches off and drawing a walk. On the second pitch, Heyman ripped a ball under the glove of Storm first-baseman Wilfri De La Cruz on a diving attempt for his fifth hit of the night. Heyman became the fourth Cal League player to accumulate a five-hit game and was the first one to do so with a perfect five-for-five line. He also is the first Rawhide player to complete a five-hit performance this year. The five hits are a single-game career high for Heyman and, including his 12th inning single from Saturday, he's hit safely in each of his past 6 at bats.
Castillo helped pace the Rawhide's season-best offensive performance by driving in a career-high five runs, finishing his night with a two-run bloop single to cap off the three-run Rawhide eighth. Morozowski and Austin Byler both put together two-hit nights, with Byler reaching safely in all five plate appearances thanks to three walks. All but three Rawhide hitters collected hits, and all but one reached base safely. Matt McPhearson also extended his hitting streak to a season-best 13 games with an RBI single in the second.
Justin Donatella (W, 5-8) did his job and kept the Storm quiet. Donatella allowed a pair of runs on three consecutive hits in the second inning: a pair of doubles from Carlos Belen and Kyle Overstreet with a Wilfri De La Cruz single sandwiched in between. But Visalia would score three in the bottom of the frame and Donatella would not allow another run, going six full innings for the first time since June 23. He also retired the final ten men that he faced in order to earn his fifth win in his past six decisions. The outing dropped his ERA to a season-best 3.79 mark, which moves him into ninth place in the California League.
Ryan Burr, Austin Mason, and Yoan Lopez combined to throw three no-hit innings of relief with four strikeouts between them to end the game.
The win marked the first time that the Rawhide had scored double digits since an April 7th victory in Lancaster
The Rawhide will continue the series against the Lake Elsinore Storm (A-Advanced, San Diego Padres) tomorrow morning. It will match up Visalia RHP Jose Almonte (5-7, 4.02) and Lake Elsinore RHP Jacob Nix (2-1, 3.61). First pitch is at 11:00 AM and tickets are still available on rawhidebaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.